Trump, bathroom bills worry S.C. transgender community
Logan Davies, a USC freshman and member of Individuals Respecting Individuals and Sexualities on campus, said Trump’s order would cause transgender college students to feel less comfortable going to the bathroom they feel more comfortable going to.
Audria Byrd, a senior transgender student at USC, said she is not shocked by the Trump ruling because she expected him to come after gay and transgendered people.
By Jeffrey Griffin & Collyn Taylor
Audria Byrd is used to being misunderstood. She’s often been called “he” instead of “she.” The transgender media arts major is concerned about President Trump’s policy change on transgender bathroom use in public schools.
“If I get to a point in my transition where I do feel comfortable using the women’s restroom, and do use the women’s restroom, and then something were to happen, like someone were to harass me, to know that I might not be protected is a scary thing,” Byrd said.
Byrd expressed her concerns one day after President Trump rescinded the Obama administration’s policies on transgender bathroom use in public schools.
“I've made this clear and the President has made it clear throughout the campaign that he is a firm believer in states' rights and that certain issues like this are not best dealt with at the federal level,” White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said during his briefing Wednesday.
Ethan Johnstone, a consultant for transgender people, believes the rescinding of the policies will cause confusion.
“I think there will be a lot of confusion at first because Obama’s policy made the interpretation of Title XIV, which includes sex, made that definition include gender identity. So I think discrimination against students is still illegal. That sort of conflict might cause some confusion in schools,” Johnstone said.
Mara Keisling, executive direct of the National Center for Transgender Equality, released a press release shaming the president for rescinding the former administration’s policies.
“This is a mean-spirited attack on hundreds of thousands of students who simply want to be their true selves and be treated with dignity while attending school. It seems almost every day the President chooses a new group to scapegoat and attack,” Keisling said.
A change in policy potentially leads to the transgender community being even more at-risk to acts of violence, experts said.
“On an everyday experience, transgender kids are not feeling supported. They were feeling supported with the Obama administration’s interpretation of Title XIV, but now this new administration who previously said they were going to support transgender people and their rights are now going back and betraying this community,” Johnstone said.
South Carolina legislature failed to pass a bathroom bill in April of 2016.
“It’s really a wait and see game right now,” Johnstone said.